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To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Blaming the Gluteus Medius, Overlooking the Deltoid
The gluteus medius (Gmed) is commonly written about, strengthened and blamed for many conditions, and rightfully so. After all, the Gmed plays a role in pelvic stability, hip motor control and lower-quarter dynamic movements.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
July, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 07
Healing Comes From Within
By Bruce Baltz
As massage therapists, our role is to initiate the natural healing process that lives within each one of us. But due to life's circumstances, our bodies are not always our best friends. We are trained at a very young age to hold in emotions and not express our feelings.As we get older most of us don't even recognize the turmoil that we have created inside our own bodies. As adults we have become quite proficient at masking our feelings to the point that it makes our day-to-day lives seem quite healthy; however, if we look at our lives a little closer we will find that a great deal of our imbalances is based on our reactions to fear. Most of us are taught that there will be consequences if we don't act a certain way or live up to certain expectations. So, as you can see, a pattern develops that does not necessarily work to our advantage.
First, we need to acknowledge that we are carrying emotional baggage that can be the root cause of many of our physical imbalances. We then have to look at the systems of the body and how they are affected unconsciously. Studies have shown that the autonomic nervous system holds the key to many of our physical discomforts and problems. Stress and fear are two of the most notable causes that directly correlate to the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, better known as dysautonomia.
The chain of communication starting with the hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary gland and then the adrenal gland. These three glands produce many of the hormones that we need to keep the body in balance. But stress and fear tend to overload our systems to the point of losing touch with our overall well-being.
The autonomic nervous system is broken into three parts: sympathetic (flight or fight), parasympathetic (rest and digest) and the enteric brain (digestive brain). Dr. Paul Canali of the Evolutionary Healing Center in South Florida has been a pioneer in the search for therapies that positively affect the autonomic nervous system. According to Dr. Canali, "The autonomic nervous system was always thought to be just that - automatic, motor-like, reflex-like, in neutral. It doesn't matter if a car suddenly cuts you off on the freeway or your boss tells you you're fired, your autonomic system reacts the same way. Muscles contract, blood pressure goes up, digestion stops, your heart races, these are but a few of the many reactions activated in the body's autonomic nervous system survival mode. The good news is that the autonomic nervous system also has a built-in healing network that can override years of painful stress and trauma.
"This part of the system allows for the deepest of human emotion, feeling of safety, love, and hope to be activated. These are what I call autonomic afferents, and they can receive information by specific sensory stimulation to free the nervous system that is stuck in a desperate survival mode. As much as 85 percent of modern disease may be due to the stress of being stuck in autonomic survival mode."
One of the most important steps in the healing process is to have our bodies recognize that there is a problem in the way our autonomic nervous system function. One of the ways to accomplish this is to bring attention to the system, which is already overloaded. Bringing awareness into different areas of our body can do this by touch.
The work can be done through contact to cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions of the spine and their surrounding tissues. Dr. Canali is the developer of the Enteric Brain Technique; he has also found that working with specific visceral stimulation with cognitive support will affect the enteric brain portion of the autonomic nervous system. The enteric brain is literally our second body brain. It controls and produces dozens of healing chemicals. Ninety-five percent of the body's serotonin, the anti-depression/ecstasy molecule is stored here.
According to Dr. Canali, "The enteric brain is the gateway to the parasympatic system's most influential nerve - the vagus nerve - which, when given the proper support, can send a powerful message to the brain; that is, to slow down, rest, digest and most importantly to heal."
Dr. Canali and I are experimenting with the use of temperature with both hot and cold stonework and a massage table that has a heated water bladder instead of a foam pad* to see what the effects may be on the autonomic nervous system. One of the things the autonomic nervous system controls is body temperature; vasoconstriction or vasodilatation of blood vessels does this. Interestingly, this same reaction is part of the fear or stress response. When the nervous system senses danger, it contracts the surface blood vessels and muscles, and shunts the blood to the deeper more powerful survival muscles. Unfortunately, we can become stuck in this contracted survival mode. The use of hot and cold therapy seems to be one of the ways to turn off this survival reflex. Dr. Canali and I believe in the healing powers of hydrotherapy and are very optimistic on the direct correlation temperature will have on the systems in the body.
Lets look at a common scenario: A client comes in with an acute injury and after a duration of time, it will become chronic. Depending on the response your client has, the treatment, and what the client is willing to do to help him/herself, this chronic stage could turn into adaptation. When we adapt to a condition, our body compensates for imbalances. At this time, we become our worst enemy. Our internal systems start to change; our physical function is affected, and pain is the most likely outcome.
One of the last phases of adaptation is disease, which often results in depression and frustration. It's much easier to work within this framework sooner rather than later. We as human beings have to take responsibility for our internal well-being and recognize our body's natural healing powers. We are looking to open the communications system that exists within us so that it will better serve us in order to maintain optimal health. Over-stimulation on almost every level means that our body no longer has that "rest to digest" stage. The stress from our everyday lives, (jobs, society, relationships) all contribute to this, overloading our systems, which cause imbalance and disease.
In order to be of greater benefit to our clients, our approach must be multidimensional. The physical bodywork is only one piece of the puzzle. When we look at the physical, there is also a nutritional component that needs to be addressed. Without the proper nutrients, our bodies will not be able to produce the essential chemical reactions that are necessary to maintain optimal function. Then there is the emotional/spiritual side. There are as many ways of tapping into this realm as our physical modalities for the body. It is imperative that whatever modality is utilized, the client must also resonate with it. Doctors and therapists must have the proper training and education to back up their protocol of treatments.
As massage therapists, we have the ability to initiate communication with the autonomic nervous system in profound ways. First, we must gain the trust of our clients on an emotional and physical level. Once this is done, our bodies will do the rest.
*The Mermaid table, produced by Golden Ratio.
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